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Intermediate Suspended Animation: NBC’s Midseason Slate Puts Community on Hold

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Lewis Jacobs/NBC

A rough day for the Greendale Human Beings, as NBC announced a midseason hiatus for Community.

Late Monday afternoon, NBC released its midseason schedule, which did not include a place for Community. Twitter—which feels as if it has a 10-to-1 greater ratio of Community fans than the actual TV viewership—briefly exploded into mourning and outrage. Word soon came from NBC that the network is only putting the show on temporary hiatus, and will bring it back. And all was well, or grudgingly assuaged, in Twitterland.

Still, this is not a great sign for the future of the show, which gives up its 8 p.m. Thursday slot to the returning 30 Rock. Community is a hilarious, wildly inventive sitcom, but it’s being puttering along with basic-cable-level ratings (low even by NBC’s lowered standards). On the one hand, TV is a business, at which Community has had over two years to sell its wares. On the other hand, as Troy would say, this is the opposite of Batman.

Things look even more dire for crime drama Prime Suspect, which was put on hiatus without assurances about its return. On the brighter side, NBC gave a vote of confidence to enjoyable new sitcom Up All Night, which will swap its Wednesday time slot with Whitney and take the post-Office spot. (Whitney will be paired with the de-vodkafied Are You There, Chelsea? to form a kind of Chelsea Lately block.)

But midseason is also a time of beginnings! Perhaps NBC’s most-anticipated show of the season, musical drama Smash, will debut Feb. 6 to pair with The Voice, and The Firm—a John Grisham–inspired drama, not a glute-strengthening workout video—takes Prime Suspect’s Thursday slot. (The NBC show I’m most eager to see, the parallel-realities drama Awake, is not yet on the schedule; production was halted a while back as producers tried to figure out the direction of future episodes.)

And Community? NBC says it will return, but bets are open as to where, in this season or a future one. 30 Rock would seem to be on the air as long as Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin want to make it; Up All Night is doing decently (again, by NBC’s forgiving standards); and I pray Parks and Recreation is going nowhere (though to be fair, its ratings are not a lot higher than Community).

Share your suggestions, wishes, complaints or hopes for six seasons and a movie below. The NBC schedule follows:

MONDAYS

8-10 p.m. — “The Voice” (season premiere Sunday, February 5; series resumes February 6)

10-11 p.m. – “SMASH” (beginning February 6)

TUESDAYS

8-10 p.m. — “The Biggest Loser” (beginning January 3)

10-11 p.m. – “Parenthood” (through February 28)

10-11 p.m. – “FASHION STAR” (beginning Tuesday, March 13, 9-11 p.m. ET with two-hour premiere; one-hour broadcasts resume March 20)

WEDNESDAYS

8-8:30 p.m. – “Whitney” (beginning January 11)

8:30-9 p.m. – “ARE YOU THERE, CHELSEA?” (beginning January 11)

9-10 p.m. – “Rock Center with Brian Williams” (beginning February 8)

10-11 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”

THURSDAYS

8-8:30 p.m. – “30 Rock” (beginning January 12)

8:30-9 p.m. – “Parks and Recreation”

9-9:30 p.m. – “The Office”

9:30-10 p.m. – “Up All Night” (beginning January 12)

10-11 p.m. – “THE FIRM” (two-hour premiere Sunday January 8; Thursday time period premiere January 12)

FRIDAYS

8-9 p.m. – “Who Do You Think You Are?” (beginning February 3)

9-10 p.m. – “Grimm”

10-11 p.m. – “Dateline NBC”

SATURDAYS

8-9 p.m. – “Harry’s Law” (encore broadcasts)

9-10 — “THE FIRM” (encore broadcasts)

10-11 p.m. – “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (encore broadcasts)

SUNDAYS

7-9 p.m. – “Dateline NBC” (beginning January 8)

8-9 p.m. – “Harry’s Law” (beginning March 4)

9-11 p.m. – “The Celebrity Apprentice” (beginning February 12)

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